Actor James Gammon dead at 70

As is often the case with a “character actor,” you may not know his name, but you’re probably familiar with James Gammon’s face or voice.

70-year-old Gammon, quite accurately albeit melodramatically described by Playbill.com as “rangy,” bewhiskered,” “gruff” and “folksy,” died on July 16th in Costa Mesa, California. The theater publication says that Gammon first made his mark in theatrical productions by Sam Shepard:

With his grizzled, weather-beaten face and hoarse voice, Mr. Gammon was a natural resident of the mythical and mourned American West Shepard used as the backdrop of many of his plays. Squinting under what seemed to be a never-setting Oklahoma sun, Mr. Gammon would alternately growl, mutter and bark his lines in such plays as Curse of the Starving Class, The Late Henry Moss, and the New York premieres of A Lie of the Mind and Simpatico… Spending most of the play rooted to a rotting couch, Mr. Gammon’s Dodge howled ineffectually as a gothic rural hell largely of his own making was disturbed by outside forces.

James Gammon’s cause of death was not disclosed. He is survived by two daughters and a wife.